November 23, 2009

4:30 AM greeting by police and their dogs....




by Veterinary Volunteer Naimi Collins

Day 1:  The day started very early with a 4:30 AM wake up call.  We struggled out of bed, gathered our things, and stumbled out to pack all of our medical equipment and our tired selves into the motorkarts to get to the port.

We were greeted by police men and 2 sniffing dogs because our destination is located very close to the Columbian border.  Our boat was a very long speedboat that looked like an old airplane inside.  Amazingly we were provided with food, drink and even a pull down TV on the 7 hour journey along the Amazon!  We had a good laugh on the trip.

Our arrival to CaballoCocha included a transfer to a smaller wooden boat.  CaballoCocha was not what I expected.  Instead of a dirt road jungle village it had paved roads and a pretty village square.  The square busted with street food stalls, a huge church, and lots of dogs.  That's when we first met a mange ridden dog who adopted us for the whole trip.  We called her Fluffy.

The hotel was filled with art and run by an American speaking Peruvian with long hair and a goatee beard.  He was very animated and we learned that his style is part of the local religious community, the Israelites.  The hotel was fine, but the toilet didn't work and shower offered just a small dribble.  Instead of fixing those things though, he brought us a plasma flat screen TV.  We laughed at the irony.

That night and had a few local beers and went to sleep prepared for the very next day . . .